This one will leave a mark, both now and over the next couple of seasons.
A month and a half after pledging loyalty to Baylor, reports began surfacing Wednesday that Jarrett Stidham was seriously considering a transfer from the Bears. In fact, one report had the talented quarterback transferring “barring a change of heart.”
As all of the rumors were swirling, interim head coach Jim Grobe was simultaneously putting on the full-court press in an effort to persuade Stidham; based on the player’s own words via social media, that effort has failed.
— Jarrett Stidham (@Jarrett_Stidham) July 7, 2016
Grobe attempted to put a positive — and ultimately laughable — spin on the development…
Jim Grobe on Stidham: I don’t think he was happy backing up Seth Russell so he’s decided to move on and find a place to get more snaps.
— Craig Smoak (@CraigSmoak) July 7, 2016
… but this has officially become arguably the biggest personnel blow in the Season of Attrition for the Bears.
With Stidham departing, it leaves Grobe and his offensive staff with just two scholarship quarterbacks — starter Seth Russell and true freshman Zach Smith. With Russell returning from a season-ending neck injury, and given the paucity of players at the position, Stidham’s presence would’ve served as an invaluable life jacket should Russell struggle either through performance or recovery.
Last season, Stidham started three games as a true freshman in place of the injured Russell before going down with a broken ankle that ended his own season. He had been penciled in as the Bears’ quarterback of the future when the senior Russell departed after the 2016 season.
As for Stidham’s immediate future, it’s believed by some that the four-star 2015 signee will go the junior college route for the 2016 season and then transfer to another FBS program early next year. Such a move would allow him to play at that level in 2017, and would leave him with two years of eligibility remaining plus a redshirt season.
He could also decide to transfer to another FBS program and sit out the 2016 season as a redshirt. That would then leave him with three seasons of eligibility, again beginning in 2017.